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A Snake Moves In

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Pansy lightly touched the tapestry, where her face had been blown off of the Parkinson family tree. Her neatly painted black nails matched the charred place where her and her mother's names had once been.

Why did her mother have to fall in love with a muggle? Why did she have to love her mother enough to go with her, despite knowing what the consequences would be? Her father was a twisted person, there was no getting around that, but she felt safe before. Now she was a pureblooded Slytherin with a soon-to-be muggle stepfather, and she couldn't imagine what the blow to her reputation would be like.

She wouldn't have cared, but a beneficial relationship with Draco Malfoy had been just out of reach, nearly cementing herself among the elite when the war struck. It was coming eventually, everyone who had once been a death eater knew it.

But now, she was about to enter her fifth year of Hogwarts with a target on her back, instead of a safety net for her to fall into.

Oh well, she thought to herself, I'd rather burn with my mother than spend another day pretending to be ok with the way my father treated her.

"Pansy?" She heard her mother whisper from behind her. She whirled around, shouldering the heavy luggage she carried. Her mother's tall and slim figure, much like her own, stood in the doorway. Her shiny black hair hung neatly around her shoulders, and her eyes were bright. She was thrilled to be getting out of here.

Pansy was thrilled for her, but she was pissed off on her own behalf. How could she be so carefree about this? Didn't her mother know what she was sacrificing?

She was getting away from her own troubles, but Pansy's were just beginning.

"Hello mother," She smiled half-heartedly at her.

"Ready to go meet them?" She asked me. Pansy stiffened. Was I ready to meet my new muggle father and his daughter? No, not really.

"I'm ready," She told her mom instead. "Just tell me where we're going."

. . .

It was hell. The house was in a homey little neighborhood surrounded by white picket fences, and it looked like it hadn't been renovated since the Victorian era. The apparating combined with the look of the place she was living made her sure she was going to throw up in their bright yellow daisies.

The Parkinson manor had been old of course, but it had been large, distinguished, intimidating... this house wasn't anywhere near the same size and it looked like a place where goldilocks would be welcomed with open arms.

"Are you sure we're in the right place?" She asked her mother hesitantly.

"Of course I'm sure, it's not the first time I've been here."

Right. It was hard for Pansy to think of her mother as an adulterer. She always knew that her father was flawed, but she never thought of her mother as anything but generous and loyal.

Pansy kicked at a flower bed with the blooming bright flowers, hoping her combat boot would take away some of the sickening cheeriness. The dirt buried one of them, but severeal petals were still blossoming through. Ugh.

Pansy was distracted from her flower-killing agenda by her mom latching onto her, her nails digging into Pansy's arm. She glared at her indignantly, but stopped when she noticed the smile on her mother's face.

She followed her gaze to a tall man standing on the porch, hands in his pockets. He had salt and pepper hair, and warm brown eyes surrounded by a tanned face full of laugh lines.

Pansy's mother rushed her forward and finally let go so she could plant a kiss on his lips before bringing him into a hug. Pansy had to turn away, she wasn't used to the sight yet, and at that moment — she wasn't sure she ever would be.

"Pansy, this is Jeremy Granger — my fiancé," Her voice was heavy with emotion as she looked lovingly into his eyes. She couldn't deny the change. Pansy had grown used to the flat gaze, the constantly pursed mouth, she had never known that her mother had another expression.

And yet, despite her mother's happiness, Pansy would have done anything for the moment to end.

"So... where's your daughter?" She asked Jeremy. His face smiled even wider.

"She went to get groceries, but she'll be back any minute now," He turned to her mother again. "You're going to love Hermione."

Pansy's head snapped up. "What?" Both of them looked at her in confusion. She could feel her stomach slowly twisting into knots.

"Hermione Granger is your daughter..." She clarified. "The same Hermione Granger who attends Hogwarts with me?"

Both of their eyes nearly popped out of their heads.

In unison, they both said, "Your daughter is a witch too?" They stood staring at each other, fingers still locked, before bursting into a fit of laughter.

"You never told each other that your daughters were witches?" Pansy repeated, incredulously.

"No," her mother said, still laughing. "Oh and I'm a witch too."

To Jeremy's credit, he barely even reacted. "Wow, that's wonderful! Hermione could use some other girls like her around."

Pansy clinched her fists. "Well I'm sorry to break it to you, but we're in conflicting cliques at Hogwarts. She's going to turn her nose up at the sight of me."

Their faces fell. They looked at each other worriedly. Then Jeremy's face hardened. "Are you one of the Slytherins that Hermione says call her a 'mudblood'? Because you all have caused her a lot of heartache over the years."

Pansy's heart sunk at the sight of her mother's judging eyes. Her mother was the softhearted one of the two, never sharing her father's beliefs of muggles. Pansy was ashamed in that moment of how her mother would look at her when the truth was out.

"I've never directly said anything," She looked down at her shoes, hands clinching together behind her back. "But I certainly never stopped anything from being said by Draco and his cronies."

"Draco Malfoy?" Her mother clarified. "The boy you're involved with?"

Jeremy's face was getting redder by the minute, but he managed to keep himself calm. "Bryony, why don't you and Pansy come inside so I can show Pansy to her room."

"Of course," Her mom answered, latching onto her arm again before leaning down to whisper in her ear, "You're sharing a room with Hermione and if I hear that you've spoken one displeasing word to her, I'll be very disappointed in you."

It chilled Pansy to the core. She was used to disappointing her father, but he was a git so she didn't particularly care what he thought — her mother on the other hand... she was Pansy's favorite person in the world.

The interior of the house was nice enough. Wooden floors, nice white cabinets, roomy dining table. It wasn't the Parkinson Manor but she'd have to settle it seemed.

The house had two stories, and Hermione's room was on the second floor. Pansy laboriously dragged her luggage up the carpeted flight of stairs.

"You and 'Mione will also have to share a bathroom, but it's pretty big so you shouldn't have much trouble handling your beauty products." Jeremy told her when they reached the top.

"You clearly haven't been around teenage girls who aren't your daughter," Pansy remarked. "Some of us like material things."

Jeremy looked slightly taken aback, and Pansy realized that her statement might've been conceived as rude, so she quickly added, "That's not an insult to her by any means, more power to her for that."

He nodded at her, as if halfheartedly acknowledging that she was trying to make an effort.

Jeremy led her to the end of the hall, opening a door to a room that was also carpeted. It was bigger than she imagined, but it couldn't hold a candle to the size of her old room.

Hermione's side had a queen sized bed with an ivory comforter and silk golden sheets. Everything was immaculate and orderly, from the figurines on her bedside table to the open closet displaying coordinating colors.

Pansy's side held a single sized bed without any sheets or blankets, and a large wooden dresser had been shoved to the back wall by a window in the center that seemed to be acting as a barrier.

"Hermione doesn't have that many clothes, so she can fit everything in her closet, and you can have the dresser,” Pansy was nodding, absorbing this information. “Of course you can keep your shoes and your nice clothes in the closet.” “Where does she keep her undergarments?” Pansy asked. Jeremy was saved from answering by the sound of the front door opening. “Dad, I'm home! Are they here yet?” The sound of Hermione Granger’s voice drifted up to Pansy, and she felt her palms start to sweat at the thought of Hermione’s face when she saw who her new roommate was.